Mental health is the biggest threat to UK workers over the next five years, according to new research.
An online survey of 1000 managers and bosses of medium and large size businesses found that over half (51%) believe that mental health will affect employees in the near future.
The poll, commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare, also found obesity (44%) and high blood pressure (30%) to be the next highest health risks to members of staff.
Chris Horlick, distribution director for AXA PPP healthcare, said: “While it’s good that Britain has weathered the economic downturn with relatively few job losses, productivity levels remain low compared with those of our G7 counterparts.
“Although various factors are thought to underpin this such as the relatively poor educational skills levels in the British workforce and transport infrastructure issues, employee wellbeing is one factor employers can do something about – and well worth doing so as employees who are mentally and physically well will have the resilience to drive better business performance.”
“To achieve this, it’s important for employers to consider their workforce as a whole and introduce health and wellbeing strategies that also tackle any specific health needs”.
The survey also found that 78% of managers and bosses who took part acknowledge they have a responsibility for their employees’ health.
This seems to be a changing attitude for employers as when asked how they would have felt about this proposition five years ago, only 67% said that they would have agreed with this view.
Mr Horlick added: “The extent of employers’ interest in employee health and wellbeing and their acknowledgment that they have some responsibility for employee health are both welcome findings.
“The challenge is to turn this goodwill into meaningful action through a more strategic approach to health and wellbeing management programmes that deliver measurable, sustainable benefits to employees and employers alike.”
Despite the health treats, 60% of respondents believe that the health of the UK’s workforce will improve in the next five years.
This will be a welcome improvement, as according to a recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development report, “there is substantial evidence showing that employee health, well-being and engagement are important for organisational success” and “where an employer looks after the health and well-being of the workforce and engages employees, they can expect positive gains, including improved performance and productivity.”